Flat White

Election 19 and the Pam Ewing effect

16 April 2019

5:44 PM

16 April 2019

5:44 PM

In 1987 Pamela Ewing woke up to find Bobby emerging from the bathroom wearing only a towel and haircut. Presumed dead through the 1986 Dallas season it turned out it was all a dream. She still had a husband and Bobby still had his hair.

2019 and it seems we are all waking up from our own political dreams and pretending things just didn’t happen – and just like Dallas it isn’t all that convincing.

Recently we’ve had Julie Bishop – Dallas style – say one of those things that politicians tend to say these days at writers festivals because there is no way it can be disproved: if she was now PM she would win this federal election.

There are a lot of these unmedicated political hallucinations going on and yet medication may well help: Just like Malcolm saying from London he would have won the election if he hadn’t been removed, and Tony, and Kevin before him making similar claims. I don’t think Julia ever got carried away thinking she was going to win in 2013 – although she did think every man wearing a blue tie was a misogynist, so delusion does take different forms.

We should get all our former prime ministers together (especially the dead ones) so that they can all get their stories straight – maybe with Tony Jones moderating so he can say ‘We’ll take that as a comment,’ before handing over for a question from another studio audience voter who is in tears laughing as they tick the Liberal-voter box before taking their seat.

While refusing to channel the ‘F’ word, Bishop may well be showing retrospective feminist solidarity with fellow reality-denier Hillary Clinton who continues to believe along with her remaining acolytes that she did not really lose the really unloseable 2016 presidential election.


It’s almost like The Donald just walked into her First Lady dressing room one day wearing a tea towel and announced ‘Honey I’m home’ before pretending he was JR.

There must be something in the political waters because just as the 2016 presidential result isn’t really real for die-hard Hillarys, over in the UK we have Brexit that never happened even though it is apparently going to happen anyway if Prime Minister May doesn’t have her way.

The push is on now for another national vote with thousands of Remainers marching through London each week because just like Dallas Season 1986 and Hillary v Trump 2016 a lot of viewers are unhappy with the story. Remainers are wearing their 1980s bathroom towels, shoulder pads and unsustainable coke habits arguing the voters were mistaken, they didn’t understand all the facts, they didn’t know what they were doing… You get the drift.

This isn’t how I remember the 2016 Brexit vote going with Remainers throwing everything and the kitchen-sink at Brexiteers along with a whole lot of abuse claiming they were, racist, stupid and pretty much useless all round.

Which if nothing else is useful for a substantially working class Brexit vote to know next time they are in a voting booth and they’re wondering what middle class elites really think of them.

This multiplicity of realities is not unlike Bill Shorten who wants to build Adani when visiting Queensland but not when he is in NSW or Victoria. Or Tony Abbott who used to want us to leave the Paris Climate Change Agreement but now says we shouldn’t because the Conservative warrior stuff doesn’t cut it anymore. Or even Pauline Hanson recently forgetting how she was caught on film running conspiracy theories on the Port Arthur massacre and 9/11 because she had forgotten how to operate the teleprompter.

It’s almost like those who run our politics think its all just a TV show and we, the voters are just dumb actors forgetting our lines and requiring direction so we don’t do something embarrassing like walk into the furniture or vote the wrong way.

Michael Scammell is a freelance writer.

Illustration: CBS Television.

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